Many people with mental retardation (also called Developmentally Delayed learners (DDL)) have average or superior abilities in some respects. While it is true that some people who are DDL may not be able to think, figure, or remember as well as other people, it is important to remember that they are proficient in some ways, and deficient in others.

People who have mental retardation usually want to be independent and responsible for their own support. One of the largest obstacles to equal employment opportunity for these individuals is persistent lack of employer confidence in, and lowered expectations of, their capabilities.

1.  Mental retardation should not be confused with mental illness or behavioral and emotional problems. The effect of the disability can be lessened, and skills and abilities increased, through rehabilitation, special education, and experience on the job.

2.  Talk to the individual as you would to anyone else, but be very specific. Break down tasks into component parts.

3.  Occasionally ask the person if they understand you. Have them relay the meaning of your words and ideas for confirmation.